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DIY! Chimney Maintenance

When you do your regular chimney cleaning, take a few extra moments to do an inspection of your chimney as well. Routinely checking to make sure the structure of your chimney is in top shape will help prolong the life of your chimney. It will also allow you to identify any little problems early on, before they turn into big problems.

Checking it Out
To inspect your chimney, you'll need a ladder to get up on your roof and a powerful flashlight. Then, just follow these five simple steps to make sure your chimney is in peak form.

Step 1 Climb up, on to your roof and examine the external structure of your chimney. Are your chimney caps missing or damaged? Are any of the brick joints cracked or crumbling?

Step 2 Using your flashlight, look down your flue. Are any of the bricks missing? Are there any blockages down the shaft? How is the chimney liner?

Step 3 Go back inside and check the flue from the bottom up with your flashlight. It may be helpful to use a mirror so you don't have to lie directly in your fireplace.

Step 4 Now, take a sniff round your fireplace. Does it smell sour? Then you probably have a build up of creosote that needs to go.

Step 5 Finally, light a small but smoky fire. Once it gets going, close off your flue at the top and check to see if any smoke is escaping. Specifically, you'll want to check the attic and around the rooflines.

While there are some problems that you will be able to fix, others will require the expertise of a professional. If you are unsure about the extent of the damage, it may be worthwhile to have a chimney expert come in to assess the issue.